The big picture: The NPD Group said consumer spending is up across the board but didn't delve into the reasons why. Is it new consoles, a great slate of games, trends in mobile gaming, the livestreaming industry, or perhaps a combination of all of these?

Consumer spending on video gaming in the US increased 40 percent to $19.5 billion in the first half of 2018 according to a recent report from The NPD Group.

In its latest Games Market Dynamics report, the market research firm found that spending on video game hardware hit a seven-year high. Sales reached $1.7 billion in H1 2018, an increase of 21 percent year-over-year, led by strong performances of the Xbox One and Nintendo’s SNES Classic Edition.

Mat Piscatella, games industry analyst at The NPD Group, clarified on Twitter that the Xbox One had strong year-on-year growth. The PlayStation 4 was the best-selling hardware platform in the half but “not a driver of total market change.”

Accessory sales shot up 41 percent with headset / headphone sales nearly doubling.

Content sales, including full-game, DLC / microtransactions and mobile games, were up 43 percent to $16.9 billion during the six-month span. NPD said mobile games experienced the greatest growth during the period.

As for specific software titles, Fortnite, Far Cry 5, Candy Crush, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, Roblox and God of War had the “most positive impact on dollar sales” during the half.

Piscatella maintains an optimistic outlook for the remainder of 2018 thanks in part to the strong line-up of titles set to launch in the fourth quarter. Combined with continued strength in hardware and accessory spending, Piscatella anticipates double-digit annual percentage gains for the total market.